Of Love and War by Charles Hammer

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Opening as Sherman’s soldiers win the Battle of Atlanta, Of Love and War: 1864 follows Billy Leidig, a young Georgia Militia deserter, as he searches for Lenora Moffat, the escaped slave girl he loves. The graycoat private blunders into a firefight and gets captured by her. Now disguised as a man and enlisted as bluecoat sergeant in the U. S. Colored Infantry, Lenora leads a wildcat black squad on one flank of Sherman’s march from Atlanta to the sea. They free slaves at plantations the army itself will not reach. Despite doubts about her mission, Billy dons the uniform of a fallen Union lieutenant and joins them. At one plantation they free shackled and starving slaves hidden by their master to forestall emancipation by Union troops. The seven squad members confront a 40-man platoon of Confederates “refugeeing” a coffle of 300 slaves, marching them on a chain out of Sherman’s path. The squad ambushes the platoon and emancipates the slaves—at heart-rending cost to themselves. But the sheer joy of breaking slave shackles with a cold chisel converts Billy to Lenora’s cause. Hopeless about their future together, she nevertheless woos him. She teaches squad members to read by quoting sexy verses from the Song of Solomon and gazing into Billy's eyes. This book focuses on Emancipation, the great prize the North won in America’s most tragic conflict. It challenges the view of most Civil War novels that gallant fighting even for a bad "Cause" is admirable. And yet the callous act of a Union general at Ebenezer creek as the novel ends foreshadows how the North, too, in coming years will fail the freed slaves.

About Charles Hammer

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After a U. S. Army tour in Germany during the Cold War, Charles Hammer became a reporter for the Kansas City Star. In 1968 as both rewrite man and street reporter he covered the riot that occurred after the Rev. Martin Luther King, jr., was assassinated. He won the 1972 Kansas Bar Association award based in part on his reporting of police brutality cases. He won a Stanford Journalism Fellowship and a Presbyterian Interracial Council award for many reports documenting the Real Estate Board's role in fostering racial turnover and resegregation of neighborhoods. Later he taught journalism for 20 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He co-authored a sports history, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, published by University of Michigan Press and wrote two youth novels for Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Published September 16, 2010 by Authorhouse. 260 pages
Genres: History, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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